- "There is a legend about a shepherd from the village of my great-grandfather. He made an arrangement with the Hand, just like your father. He was killed on the battlefield. More than once. And every time he arrived back at the village, his wife was overjoyed. It seemed like such a miraculous gift. But it wasn't. Each time he came back, he was worse. One night, without warning, he took two of his own children and roasted them on a fire. When his wife discovered it, she fled with her only remaining child in her arms. They destroy the ones closest to them first. The only solution is to run."
- ―Hai-Qing Yang to Ward Meachum
During centuries, the Elixir granted the leaders of the Hand with an incredible longevity. When one of them was killed, the "fingers" of the Hand also used the elixir to bring them back and repair their bodies. The Hand also used the elixir to immortalize certain supporters outside of their organization who had assisted them in their goals including an unnamed Chinese Shepherd and Harold Meachum.
The properties of the Elixir weren't unlimited as Alexandra Reid's body began to naturally reject the effects of the elixir after centuries of constant use. Despite healing fatal injuries, the Substance didn't completely heal its user as scars could still be visible, although it was able to regenerate lost limbs. The elixir also cannot revive a corpse that has been decapitated.
The Elixir however had one serious drawback in the form of a serious mental instability; Harold Meachum, being the prime example of this. After his first use of the serum, he became more sociopathic, and after his second resurrection his stability fractured. This also happened to Elektra to a lesser degree.